You have questions. I might have the answers.
Stephanie from Denver writes: Is there a specific reason Adam why the Big Ten gets constantly made fun of and/or bashed in majority of sports? For example, people continually made fun of Big Ten basketball throughout the year, yet in the Sweet 16 no other conference has more teams in than the Big Ten?Is it due to the money factor and the Big Ten having more than any other conference (as well as the number of alumni)?
Adam Rittenberg: Stephanie, I was thinking about this very topic after Sunday's NCAA tournament games. The negativity stems from a lot of factors, and money and fan support are certainly among them. No one likes it when the rich get richer, and the Big Ten is having a very good year both on and off the court/field. There's also a perception that the Big Ten is arrogant and set in its ways, and the league lacks some of the flashy teams or personalities that media members and fans love. The style of play in both Big Ten football and basketball also doesn't jibe with those who love to see 50-47 scores in football and 95-90 scores in hoops. It's funny how a Big East basketball game can end 53-50 and no one makes a stink about it. The Big Ten constantly will fight some negativity, but the league doesn't care if it keeps winning.
Dallas from Evanston, Ill., writes: Hi Adam, have you heard anything new on whether Northwestern will be playing at Wrigley this year?
Adam Rittenberg: Dallas, from talking with Northwestern officials the last few weeks, there are still some hurdles to clear to get a game finalized. One issue is insurance for the game and who will pay for it. I have little doubt the game can happen, but time is running out to have it played this fall. Northwestern really wanted as much time as possible to promote a Wrigley Field game, and we're basically seven months away from a potential event there. That might sound like a lot of time to fans, but you would ideally like 9-12 months at the very least to market the game to fans. Moving a game to Wrigley would leave NU with only five true home games, so the school would have to sort out its season-ticket package. If something isn't finalized by the end of March, you could be looking at 2011 or 2012.
Mike from New York writes: Hey Adam,When Penn State heeded the call in 1989 to join the Big 10, something rather funny happened. It was still called the Big 10! I am actually a really big fan of the Big 10 logo, with the clever idea of sneaking "11" into the negative space. I guess my question is, if the big 10 expands to 12 schools, do you think the conference would/should change their name or stick with tradition? I would prefer it still be called the Big 10.
Adam Rittenberg: I would expect the Big Ten brand name to be too powerful for the league to change it. The conference has been called the Big Ten since 1917, when Michigan resumed membership, and I can't see a name change coming. As for the clever logo, it would have to change because the "11" wouldn't apply any more.
Leland from Hebron, Ohio, writes: Hey adam im a huge Buckeye fan and i know the defense will be alright and i see terelle pryor imroving with stability on the o-line but i was wondering who do think will step up and make an impact at the wide receiver position i know we got posey makin plays and sanzenbacher is a good 1st down receiver but who do think will step up and be the 3rd 0r 4th guy cause i think if our offense wants to be explosive we need another go to guy to catch the deep ball and do think stoneburner will make an impact i think if they use him he could make some plays Go Bucks!
Adam Rittenberg: Duron Carter showed some good things last fall as a true freshman, and I'd expect him to move into that No. 3 wide receiver position in 2010. Carter has good size and quickness, and if he keeps his academics on track, he should be a contributor this fall. Taurian Washington also will be in the mix for the No. 3 spot, and Chris Fields and James Jackson aren't too far behind.
Theresa from Irvine, Calif., writes: Adam, I've read that Notre Dame would make more from television contracts if the school joins the Big Ten. But then there are contrary reports that state the exact opposition (Notre Dame makes more television money because it doesn't have to split coupled with BCS money and so on).Which one is correct? Would the Irish make more if they joined the Big Ten?
Adam Rittenberg: Even after the Big Ten television revenue pot is sliced 11 ways, Big Ten teams still take away more money ($15-20 million) than Notre Dame does on its own (reportedly $9 million). So Notre Dame would definitely make more from TV if it joined the Big Ten, largely because of the successful Big Ten Network. How much the Irish would lose from relinquishing their independent status is tough to tell, and we're not just talking money there. But from a media rights perspective, Notre Dame and just about any team would benefit from joining the Big Ten.
Eric from Stanford, Calif., writes: I am a life-long (admittedly rather young) Michigan fan who currently attends Stanford. In response to a question regarding the possibility of hiring Les Miles to replace [Rich] Rodriguez should he be fired, you responded "I totally agree with you that Harbaugh gets too much credit for simply making Stanford respectable again". Although somewhat biased, I cannot disagree with you more. Jim Harbaugh has taken a team with relatively little athleticism, except for Toby Gerhart and sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck, and last year led them to the point where they were able to compete for a Pac10 Conference Championship. Given the state of Stanford football when he arrived, his coaching stock is deservedly high. It would be difficult for me to witness Harbaugh leaving Stanford, but if he is going to do so, I hope he leaves for Michigan.
Adam Rittenberg: Again, Jim Harbaugh has done a really good job at Stanford, especially in recruiting. The program was in terrible shape after the Buddy Teevens/Walt Harris years. But it's not like Stanford has no football tradition or nothing to sell. You have one of the nation's best academic schools, best campuses and best overall athletic departments. Stanford is competing for conference titles, which is great. Growing up in the Bay Area, I remember Stanford football being very solid in the 1990s. My point is, to anoint Harbaugh as the Second Coming, like many of my media colleagues tend to do, seems a bit premature. How about winning a Pac-10 championship or a bowl game first? It seems like certain coaches whose personalities appeal to media members (Harbaugh, Mike Leach) get so much credit, and while some of it is deserved, I'd just like to see more proven on the field.